Thursday 29 November 2012

Rebooting the pi

Hmm. Is this pi stable? It's crashed a couple of times, which I don't like, I'm used to computers that keep running for years at a time.

So I've done the following.

1. I have three webcams and the Maestro servo controller all taking power from the pi. I've changed that so they connect to a powered hub, lessening the load on the pi.

2. I've made a power cycler for it. My first thought was to run the pi off the USB of another computer, and tell the other computer to cut and restore power. But it turns out that USB ports can tell devices to power off, but they can't actually cut the power. So instead, I'm using a relay, controlled by another computer (actually, I'm using the same relay box that controls the power to the lights and the servos), and I've made a little web interface for it, so from anywhere in the world I can reboot the pi. No, I'm not telling you the URL. And that works great.

3. All the things that need to start up when the pi starts, I've made happen automatically. You do that by putting commands in /etc/rc/local

I've also been having other hardware problems. A computer I use purely for multiple terminals, was singing. Actually, it was a two tone sound like emergency sirens use, only quieter. But still annoying. So I powered it off, and had a look. It turned out, there's three fans inside. The CPU fan had stuck, one case fan had stuck, and the third case fan was running, but very noisy. So I replaced all three fans.

On another computer,  the hard drive was getting a rapidly increasing number of bad sectors, so that's been swapped out. And on a third, the hard drive dropped out, so that got swapped too. What those two have in commopn, is that they're both certified Seagate repaired drives, sent to me in replacement for drives that had failed.

More bike maintenance. Battery 8 wouldn't fit on the carrier. I phoned Alien, and they suggested filing it down. So I did that; it's in a plastic molded case, and there's line standing out where the mold was. So I've filed it all flat, and sanded it, and not it fits on, albeit with quite a lot of force.

While I had the bike out, I had a look at the back brake, which had suddenly become almost useless. The cable had loosened, but when I tried to tighten it, I found that the frayed end had slipped through the holding nut, and I didn't fancy coaxing it back. So I replaced the whole brake cable, which turned out to be pretty easy to do. I put a few drops of oil inside the cable outer first, on general principles, and then the inner just slid in easily. I also adjusted the saddlebags so they fit slightly better. I'm taking the bike out again tomorrow, to Huntingdonshire.

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